Guinea pigs are friendly and easily tamed but they require commitment and regular attention and it’s important to know guinea pigs can live for up to ten years. Guinea pigs like to live in social groups, we do not recommend you keep one guinea pig on its own. It is best to choose two young litter mates of the same sex or to introduce two or more while young as they are more likely to live happily together. Guinea pigs do make great pets for families and have been a popular favoutrite for children over many years.
Things you might need
- Straw bedding
- Food dish
- Water dispenser bottle
- Guinea pig pellets
Looking After Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are herbivores and require fresh, clean vegetables and grasses daily. All guinea pig, particularly pregnant sows, require high levels of vitamin C which is best obtained from clean grasses or lucerne chaff. This should make up the bulk of their daily diet, supplemented by those parts of vegetables which we humans are inclined not to eat, such as carrot tops and peelings, corn husks, broccoli stalks and celery tops. Specialised guinea pig pellets are available from Pet City stores – beetroot and rhubarb leaves, potato and its peelings should not be fed to guinea pigs as these vegetables are toxic for them.
Guinea pigs are susceptible to extremes of heat and cold, they should be sheltered from temperatures above 30°C, sudden cold snaps. Toxaemia during pregnancy may occur if females overheat so it is important to keep them cool. If housed outside, guinea pigs may also suffer occasional hair loss. Seek veterinary advice for conditions such as this, check the coat regularly, especially around the eyes as grass seeds trapped in the hair can cause irritation. Brushing you guinea pigs hair is recommended daily for longhair varieties.
Shorthair – Covering a range of colours, markings and crests.
Coarse – The coat stands away from the body.
Longhair – A long coat which can grow about one inch per month.
Satin – The coat has a shiny appearance due to hollow hair follicles.